hendrixmom asks:

My kindergartener is being punished for taking her time.  Does anyone else think this is extreme?

My daughter is 5 and just started kindergarten. She is a very meticulous child and takes her time to do everything(eat, get dressed, color, etc.). At school she has to use timers to get her centers done.....can anyone explain the reason for this? Now if it takes her a while to get something done, the teacher is punishing her by moving her up a notch on the disipline tactic she uses and she has to sit out for recess...does anyone else think this is extreme or is this something necessary to get her in the habit of working faster? I mean, it is kindergarten.....
In Topics: Learning styles and differences
> 60 days ago



Jul 12, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello.  I am school professional and I know that using a timer to help a child to budget time and learn time management is not unusual, albeit a bit strict for kindergarten.  However, using negative behavioral management techniques in kindergarten is never advised.  Kindergarten should be a place of learning how to negotiate the beginning of your school career. If a child is more of an "individualist" then that could be encouraged while still maintainig the classroom milieu without interruption.

The only behavior management tool that I think should be employed that is "negative based" in kindergarten is the occasional  use of a simple time out (and never for long periods of time.  One minute per year of the child). A behavioral chart that highlights negative vs. positive behaviors should not be conducted, in my opinion.  

As a professional and a parent, I would ask for a meeting with the school administrator and the teacher.  Bring your spouse or significant other.  You should not go alone.  Ask for written notes of the meeting to be taken.  Make sure that you also have your facts correct before going to the meeting and that they are not only based on child reported information. (Although you certainly can have a meeting just to ask about the behavioral systems being employed within the classroom).  It also would be good to ask for the school counselor or psychologist to join the meeting, thus being able to help support the teacher with information.  

I have added two resources below, although there are many more, regarding positive behavioral strategies in kindergarten and school expectations for this age and grade.

Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
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Additional Answers (3)

Redwood_Cit... writes:
Hi hendrixmom,

My son€™s in first grade now so I learned last year that sticking to a schedule is a huge focus in kindergarten.  And while it can be really painful for some kids to adapt to, it's actually setting them up for success in the older grades when not getting your work done on time means extra homework or points off your grade.   And part of it is self preservation for the teacher too.  You know how hard it is to get ONE five year old moving from task to task.  Imagine if you were trying to herd 20 of them!

The big question is, does your daughter take longer to do things because she's distracted or "dawdling" like a typical five year old - or is it because she genuinely needs more time because of some physical, emotional or developmental challenge she€™s managing?  

If it€™s the later, you should probably schedule a meeting with her teacher to talk about how the teacher can either modify your daughter€™s assignments so that she has a better chance of finishing in the allotted time or maybe giving your daughter a little extra time on things that take her longer.

If your daughter could finish on time, but is just €œchoosing€" not to, then I think you should let her face the music with the timers.  It will be painful for a while but it will be better for her in the long run.

Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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twinmomsrock writes:
Hi Hendrix Mom,

Well, I'm from the other end of the spectrum. I don't know about "future success" (which is the always handy argument tossed at parents when the school is doing something that seems unkind from a casual observance), but for current enjoyment o of Kindergarten, I think making your daughter sit out recess is awful.

And yes, I understand that the poor one teacher is trying to herd twenty of them. But still is our education system going to totally not allow for any individuality in the child? I think her meticulousness is a strength and shouldn't be squashed, it should be applauded. I'd like a few more people like her in this world.

And having a five year old "face the music" seems completely age inappropriate. A ten year old, sure, but five?!

One thing I've noticed that our school does (a good one, btw) is to highly discourage a mother's intuition or gut. Because -- if all twenty parents were thinking and surmising -- the school would be facing a tidal wave of parents.

So to answer my own concern -- yes, individuality is not celebrated in our schools unless you happen to get a teacher who bucks the system and thinks individuality is cool.

Let us know how it goes.
> 60 days ago

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CreativeRac... , Child Professional, Teacher writes:
I fully understand your concerns.  You are loving your daughter's skill of taking her time and performing tasks accurately and nicely.  I would continue praising her on her excellent work, i.e coloring and completing tasks meticulously.  
    On the flip side, time management skills are extremely beneficial to young students.  As they learn to manage time, they will be able to balance activities and school work, being accountable in a timely manner.  If there is a way you can balance loving her desire to complete activities perfectly, and teach her time management, it would help her out in school.  Especially since the kindergarten teacher is adamant about teaching this skill.  

   The following are a few articles explaining why time management is so crucial to a child's development and how to help them in the process.  



I hope this helps, and I wish you and your daughter the best of luck.
> 60 days ago

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